Cycling in Ladakh

Cycling in Ladakh is not an easy task to perform, one needs strong mental and physical health to ride through the Lands of High Passes. Ladakh provides one of the most serene cycling routes in India, offering majestic landscapes and off-road adventures. There are several routes from where you can choose to start your journey with. One can start right from Leh, or can opt for the Manali to Leh route. To add more thrill in your Ladakh trip book Manali to Leh Cycliing Tour.

Your ride will traverse through numerous famous attractions of Leh, such as, the Royal Palace, the ancient Buddhist monasteries, the Sanctum Sanctorum, and divine Shrines, representing the history of this beautiful hilly area. But the most interesting thing to witness during your cycling in Ladakh journey is the amazing street art representing the local routine of people living a nomadic life.

Understand the culture of Ladakh as you ride through the beautiful valleys of Jispa and feel the thrill at the steep curves of the highest motorable pass in the world, Khardung La. Experience the beauty of majestic landscapes as you pass through the Himalayan terrain of Sarchu, or admire the beautiful snowclad mountains surrounding crystal blue lakes.With Leh Ladakh tours, embrace the opportunity to not just witness but truly experience the beauty and diversity of this enchanting region, where every twist and turn reveals a new facet of its mesmerizing allure.

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Ladakh Cycling FAQs

What is the best time for cycling?

Well, there are two roads to Leh Ladakh viz. Srinagar – Leh Highway and Manali – Leh Highway and both of them remain closed for more than 6 months from November to April or Mid-May every year because of heavy snowfall. The best season considered to cycling in Ladkah is from Mid-May to Mid-October when the climate is friendly and isn’t much humid.

What are the types of cycles?

Cycling in Ladakh is the best way to explore this magical place. In fact, it helps in crossing different difficult terrains and reach the place faster. However, you need enough stamina and strength to cycle around Ladakh. There are different types of cycles one can choose for Ladakh trip:
Road Cycle: Focused on speed on the road, with little or no regard for rider comfort.
MTB Cycle: Focused on ride-ability across the harshest and steepest of terrains. In the hands of a skillful rider it will go where the average SUV will not.
Hybrid cycle: Like the word indicates, it is a cross — between a road cycle and an MTB. A huge variety of versions exist across the spectrum.
Touring Cycle: Focused on reliability, comfort and weight carrying — designed to carry you and all your belongings across the world.

Do I bring my own Cycle?

You can bring your own bike having in good condition, but it will be fully your responsibility. You are also responsible for assembling your bike upon arrival and disassembling it upon departure as well as any and all shipping arrangements.

What permits do I need for a complete Ladakh cycling Trip?

With the circulation published by DM in Leh, Indian Tourists will not be needing Inner Line Permits for Leh-Ladakh trip. However, to visit regions like Hanle, Tsaga, Chusul, beyond Loma bend, Marsimik La, Chumur, and Batalik sectors, the Inner Line Permit will be required. We would be taking care of issuing the permit for the same. The application form for the permit are available at the Photostat shops nearby Deputy Commissioner’s office. Inner Line Permit is an important document needed to visit certain areas of Ladakh during cycling trip.

What other gear do I need to bring if I am taking my own cycle?

Tools and parts to carry:
• Tire levers/patch kit
• Spare tube (and tire, depending on the trip)
• Mini-pump
• Blue Loctite (keeps bolts in tightly)
• Electrical tape
• Spoke wrench
• Spare spokes sized for your bike’s wheels
• Extra nuts, bolts, and wire (particularly for racks)
• Bicycle light (optional)

Is it good to take my own cycle or should I rent it?

This depends on your choice. If you’ve your own high-end cycle that can perfectly fit for expedition then you can carry your own cycle. However, it is important to note that your cycle should be in good condition and terrain friendly. It’s always good to join a cycling expedition in Ladakh as you will get the cycle as well all the support from the trip organisers.

Do I need tubeless tires for cycling Trip?

Tubeless types can run at any low pressure for good grip and they have sealant that can automatically fix punctures during the trail. It is a good idea to have tubeless tire in your cycle during cycling trip.

Do I need puncture Kit?

If you are not in a group tour carrying a puncture kit is advisable, if your cycle doesn’t have tubeless tire. Puncture kit comes in small size and are handy during such cycling trek.

Do I need an air pump for the Trip?

Company would carry the air pump for the trip, so you don’t have to burden yourself with such tools. The camp and hotels will also be equipped with such air pump. In fact, there are garages in frequent distance where one can pump-up the cycle tire.

Do I need to carry full set of cycle repair tools?

Yes, this could be a good idea though if you are bringing your own cycle. Our team will also be equipped with cycle repair tools for emergency. There are terrains where cycle may breakdown or any mechanical problem may arise. So carrying full set of cycle repair tool is the best option.

Do I need to learn how to be a mechanic for a cycling trip?

Yes, having a mechanical knowledge for your cycle will be beneficial. Though expert co-ordinators carry a good knowledge about cycle and also carry repair equipment to avoid any kind delay. You can carry a catalogue of your cycle and equipment also to get your cycle repaired if any breakdown happens.

How many days are required to explore Ladakh?

There are different itineraries for Ladakh trip. These itineraries are for bike/bicycle trip. To explore Ladakh- 10 days would suffice, excluding travelling period. The total days would help you accommodate, rest and explore Ladakh completely.

How much distance will be covered in a single day during the expedition ?

The distance depends on the duration and places that will be covered. Check the itinerary provided by the company which would include the date, time and location. You can then find the distance of each place. However, one should keep in mind, due long terrains of Ladakh and changing climatic condition, one cannot predict the distance covered in the single day.

Will I be able to do it?

If you’re good in cycling for long hours and have an experience earlier for smaller cycle trek, then it can be easier for you to complete the cycling tour in Ladakh. But, if it’s your first time, then, it is important to have practice for month long. You can even join cycling tour course to have a practice of long hours of cycling. Above all is the determination and passion is required in you to keep going in the rough terrain of Ladakh. We will help our troop by encouraging them if any unforeseen happens.

What kind of physical preparation is required for this expedition ?

You need to be mentally and physically fit for such long and tiring expedition. Month long cycling preparation is required. Spend hours in cycling, especially in small mountain area near you. Also carry tools and baggage along during the practice, so your body gets accustomed with such weight. Do check with your doctor for any physical problem and get certification for the same. You might need such medical certification before the expedition begins.

Can I book cycling trip for a group?

Yes, you can book a group for cycling in Ladakh. Also if two or three are interested in joining the trip, then can join the departure. We’ve set different departure timings and dates, the information of which will be provided to all our members. It is advised to book for trip way in 2-3 months advance to avoid any issues later.

How many people will be on my tour?

It depends on the tour and people interested in cycling trip to Ladakh. Generally, there is a different batch each having 10-12 members. The group size also depends on the destination to destination.

What can I expect in terms of accommodation?

Accommodation will be provided to cycling group. The stay will be in cycling-friendly hotels and even in camps. These camps will have all the essential facilities. Homestays/Hotels and tented camps are available options.

What will be the facility for water/ Do I need to carry Food/Water along? What about refreshments during the ride?

The troop will be equipped with enough water bottles and food. However, the base camp will have enough water and food facility. If you want to carry food and water, it will be a good option. You can carry food of your own choice, but shouldn’t be heavy. Carry diet foods that can help in energizing your body for long hours of cycling. Well, there would be refreshments during the entire troop but it depend on the package you booked. However, you can also bring some refreshments like juice, healthy fresh fruits, biscuits and other such items that can keep your body pumped up.

Will I have free time?

Cycling is tiring and one needs enough rest to cover the long distance. Generally, during cycling trip the group will have a camp for resting. Cyclist will be given refreshments to energize the body and start the journey.

Will we have a tour guide to help us?

In most packages, you'll be provided with tour guide inclusive of the rate. However, it's advisable to check with the tour operator before booking. When it comes to cycling tour, there will be group leader and support vehicle to help as tour guide.

What if my cycle breaks down?

Well, if you’re going alone make sure you carry all the tools of your cycle and learn some basics of cycle reparing. If you going in group cycling tour you will have expert team who have good mechanical knowledge and will fix the cycle. Also, there will be a backup vehicle with the group which will be helpful if your cycle is not in reparable condition.

What if I become ill on my trip and am unable to continue?

You will be given proper medication from our expert team leader. You would be resting during the journey in a camp or hotel to make sure you get proper rest and medication and fit for further trip. However, if in case, you’re unable to continue, group leader would take care of transferring back to your destination but cost of transfer will be piad by the cyclist.

What is a support vehicle and how will it help me?

Support vehicle is generally SAG (Support and Gear) which is helpful for cyclers during the cycling trip to ladakh, when they experience fatigue or face mechanical problem in cycle. This is a great help given by non-cyclist by support the fellow cycler by volunteering to be a SAG driver. the SAG driver will have your supplies and provide instructions to the restrooms, as well as motivation.

What about medical emergency? What about medical help?

Mahabodhi Karuna Charitable is the famous hospital in Ladakh. There are also some military camps and tourist camps where emergency medical facility is offered. Trip leaders will remain equipped with required medical assistance like medical kit during emergency. Trip co-ordinators are equipped with medications to help cyclers during medical emergency. First aid kit and other medications are essential because cyclists may fall ill and face dizziness during the journey. In case of emergency back up vehicle will help you to take near by hospital.

Do I need insurance?

Yes, you should insure yourself with medical and travel claims with the respective insurance company. Having insured will help in covering the cost of medical emergency you face during the trip. Also you might have to cancel your trip at the last moment which may incur loss to you. By having travel insurance, you can cover the cost of cancellation of trip.

I am a single woman traveller, how safe is it for cycling?

It’s completely safe for a women to do cycling in Ladakh. All the troop leaders carry good experience and are certified cyclers. You’ll be given separate tent and accommodation for single women and if there are other females in the troop then they will be accompanied with you.

How cold is Ladakh?

Ladakh is situated at an altitude of 3514 Meters above sea level and this is one the highest habitable places in the world. Ladakh is a cold desert, and therefore the temperatures are in extreme – the summers can get a little harsh with direct sunlight falling at such a high altitude and winters can be really cold, with temperatures dropping below freezing point. The best time to visit Ladakh will be during summers that is in the months of June to September.

What kind of clothing is required for Ladakh trip?

It is important top carry wollen or cotton cloths to keep body warm. However, it depends on the season you visit Ladakh. Make sure you carry a pair of shoes with wollen socks. Apart from these, carry:
• At least one or two caps to protect yourself from direct sunlight as it is too harsh in this region.
• Carry at least 1 Balaclava too to protect yourself from cold entering the head
• Hand Gloves, must have in the months of October to June
• 1 heavy woollen jacket is always handy throughout the year even in the months of July and August
• From November to March, you must pack heavy woolens and prepare for extreme temperatures. Thermals are a must for these months.
• Carry multiple layers in form of cotton T-Shirts, thermals, light woolens and wind proof jackets during summer trekking.

What is advisable to eat and drink in Ladakh ?

One can have some amazing taste of Himalayan foods during the trek. Some of the foods to try are:
Cheese from Yak's Milk: Yak is prominent in Ladakh and having a cheese made up of Yak milk can be interesting.
Tigmo: It is a local dish in the form of fermented and steamed bread, served with a veg/non-veg stew.
Momo: One can't stay away with this Himalayan dish. The momos are available in various shapes.
Thukpa: The Tibetan soup is clear soup with lots of vegetables. Comfort food for cold temperatures of Leh.
Kulcha: This is a kind of bun, which is very unlike what we know as Kulcha in North India.

What about the public facilities in Ladakh ?

As is the case with India, the public facilities are rarely good. They are usually doable, but score low on hygiene. You will find public toilets easily. You will find Western style toilets in all the standard hotels and restaurants. In some places, there may be a row of stalls with Indian-style “squat” toilets and one that is Western style. Keep toilet paper or tissues, paper soaps or liquid soaps and hand sanitizers with you for convenience.

What network services are available in Ladakh?

BSNL and Airtel have a good connectivity in Ladakh. However, in remote areas, there can be issues of network connectivity. Only postpaid mobile connection work well in Ladakh and other surrounding regions.

Are there any ATM’s in Leh? Do credit cards and debit cards work in hotels and restaurants?

Yes, Leh has ATM’s owned by Axis Bank, Jammu and Kashmir Bank, Punjab National Bank and State Bank of India. It is strongly recommended to carry enough cash because ATM’s can be non-functional sometime due to heavy demand. Also, there are no ATM’s available on the highways and places outside the Leh town, hence, it is highly recommended that you carry sufficient cash as even credit/ debit card acceptance will be an issue and most of these locations do not have this facility. Yes, few of the hotels and restaurants have credit/debit card payment faciltities. However, it is advised to carry cash, because many of the isolated area won’t have network.

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